Dubai, UAE: A group of special needs students are ready to step into the professional work environment with greater confidence after developing skills in housekeeping, cooking and hotel administration.
The 14 students from the Rashid Paediatric Therapy Centre, who graduated on Wednesday after a 10-month training programme in the hospitality sector, will now get a chance at employment.
The fifth batch of graduates was given an opportunity to receive industrial training in the Rihab, Rimal and Villa Rotana hotels as part the hotels initiative launched in 2009 with the aim of familiarising special needs students with a real working environment.
Every year, each of the hotels receive between three to six Rashid Centre students — over 18 years of age — selected by the centre’s management to receive 8-10 months of training under the supervision of the centre’s social assistance sell and the human resource department of the hotels.
The ceremony took place at Villa Rotana where the students, who performed a traditional dance, were given certificates.
“This is a moment where all of you can witness the skills we have now acquired, the abilities we have, and what we are able to do,” a student said in an address to the gathering.
Speaking about the programme and the importance of getting special needs students engaged in vocational training apart from only receiving academic and educational training, Mariam Othman, General Manager of the Rashid Paediatric Therapy Centre said that they “wanted the students to learn something that will benefit them in becoming more independent”.
“Through the cooperation of the three hotels, students from our centre were able to receive training in housekeeping, cleaning and cooking and were able to meet people and interact with them. Students are not only gaining skills in such activities, but their attitude, behaviour and manners are positively changing, and it is also getting others used to dealing with them,” she said.
She also said that some of the students who had received such training in similar programmes were able to get a proper job.
Kinan Al Ghraoui, general manager of the three hotels, said the hotels have been dedicated to the programme through the years, and that the number of students they are training each year has increased.
“We have received positive feedback from the centre in terms of improvement in the student’s behaviour. The hotel is currently looking at permanently hiring at least one graduating student in each of the three hotels, but this might take time because we will first need to create the policy and look at other details,” Al Ghraoui said.
He also said that hiring them is something important that everyone should consider “because it gives these students the feeling that they are indeed part of this society and that they are equal to us”.
© Gulf News
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